Plenary Lecture

New Trends in Virtual Reality and Augmented Visualization

Professor Lucio Tommaso De Paolis
Augmented and Virtual Reality Laboratory (AVR Lab)
Dept. of Engineering for Innovation
University of Salento, Italy

Abstract: Virtual Reality (VR) technology permits the creation of realistic-looking worlds where the user inputs are used to modify in real time the digital environment. Interactivity and captivating power contribute to the feeling of immersion in the virtual world, of being part of the action that the user experiences. It is not only possible to see and manipulate the virtual objects, but also to feel and touch them using specific devices.
The last few years have witnessed scientific advances in virtual reality, allowing virtual training environments to get closer and closer to reality. Interesting learning situations can emerge with free interaction in these simulated realities. In addition, the integration of pedagogical functions and motivational aspects as in serious gaming and interactive storytelling, offer new possibilities for training and allows the creation of relevant situations on the learning level.
Mixed Reality (MR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technologies permit the real-time fusion of computer-generated digital contents with the real world and allow the creation of fascinating new types of user interfaces. Augmented reality enhances the users' perception and improves their interaction in the real environment. The virtual objects help user to perform real-world tasks better by displaying information that cannot directly detect with own senses.
Unlike the virtual reality technology that completely immerses users inside a synthetic environment where they cannot see the real world around them, augmented reality technology allows to see 3D virtual objects superimposed upon the real environment. Therefore, AR supplements reality rather than completely replacing it and the user is under the impression that the virtual and real objects coexist in the same space.
Many applications of VR and MR/AR technologies have been developed in different fields (medicine, education, arts and cultural heritage, entertainment, military, and manufacturing). Recently, new concepts such as Natural User Interfaces and Mobile Immersion have emerged and permit to combine AR/MR technologies with new mobile human machine interfaces. Consequently, mobile immersion will allow users to move away from purely physical communication mode to a mixed/augmented reality communication, interaction and collaboration mode. Interactions will be natural and augmentations will become ubiquitous.
The speech will present the new trends in virtual reality and augmented visualization and the applications in medicine and surgery, cultural heritage, and education. The aim is to bring a community of researchers from academia and industry, computer scientists, engineers, physicians together in order to share points of views and emerging impressions on the present applications of virtual reality and augmented reality technologies and discuss benefits and limitations.

Brief Biography of the Speaker: LUCIO TOMMASO DE PAOLIS had a Degree in Electronic Engineering from the University of Pisa (Italy) and is an Assistant Professor of Information Processing Systems at the Department of Innovation Engineering of the University of Salento (Italy). His research interest concerns the study of the design and development of applications of Virtual and Augmented Reality and Human- Computer Interaction in medicine and surgery, cultural heritage and education.
De Paolis is the Director of the Augmented and Virtual Reality Laboratory (AVR Lab – at the Department of Engineering for Innovation of the University of Salento and the responsible of the “Advanced Virtual Reality for Medicine” research group at the Laboratory of Interdisciplinary Research Applied to Medicine (DReAM) of the Hospital of Lecce, Italy. He is the vice-president of MIMOS (Italian Movement Modelling and Simulation) and the founder of AVR Med srl (, a spin-off company of the University of Salento.
He teaches “Applications of Virtual and Augmented Reality” at the Master Degree in “Computer Engineering” of the University of Salento and at EUROMACHS (European Heritage, Digital Media and the Information Society), an international course within the degree class "Computer Methodologies for the Humanities".
He has been a Visiting Professor in 2014 at the Tallinn University of Technology, in 2012 at the Vytautas Magnus University of Kaunas (Lithuania) and in 2011 at the University of Tallinn (Estonia). He has been visiting researcher in 2007 and 2010 at the Centro de Ciencias Aplicadas y Desarrollo Tecnológico (CCADET) of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Mexico City (Messico) and in 2007 and 2009 at the Computer Graphics Laboratory of the Sabanci University of Istanbul (Turkey).
De Paolis has been the coordinator of some Italian and international projects focused on the application of Virtual and Augmented Reality in medicine, cultural heritage and education. He is the organizer of the International Conference on Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and Computer Graphics (SALENTO AVR).

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